Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Henry's drawings

Not long ago I was a bit saddened by the realization that H. was not drawing as much as he used to. We literally spent an hour or two a day drawing when he was younger. I realize this is not normal for a two year old. I loved it. One of my motivations for our trip to Boston was to coerce him to draw a bit more. Somehow, weeks ago during the planning stages of the trip, Henry started drawing a lot again.  In kindergarten he departed from his attempts at realism and began to draw what he called"designs". Lately he is drawing elaborate"computers". Honestly, I would rather he draw forests, animals etc. Is he drawing computers because we spend a lot of time on the computer? Because he wants to spend time on the computer? I probably allow him 15 min. screen time per week. Regardless, they are pretty cool. Aside from the lap tops he has been designing, he has been drawing portraits and skyscrapers. More on that later... 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


A painting of Molly's.
Amy's living room.

Fish n chips at the Black Rose.

He did not finish this.
Indian food with Nicole, Molly and Mamie.
I guess this bears repeating? Damn blogger.

This past weekend, Henry and I went on a weekend date to Boston. I picked him up early from school and  we took the commuter rail. We spent Friday night with Molly in swanky Brookline, where she shares an apt. with a slew of Mt. Holyoke Track team alum. Saturday night was spent in a Portuguese neighborhood of Cambridge where  Amy resides. We had a fabulous time. We walked a ton, ate delicious Indian food,  and thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. The highlight might have been visiting the stellar playground near Amy's apt., that or the enormous lollipop I bought for Henry.  

Monday, September 22, 2008


Important Realization: Quinoa is scrumptious when boiled for 5 min. and then roasted with olive oil and other veg. for about 20 min (accompanying veg. must be parboiled as well) (stirring occasionally). Result is crispy in parts, chewy and quite remarkable when you consider how healthy that darn ancient grain is. 

dinner tonight (roasted carrots, blue potatoes and quinoa, Mark Bittman style) and Ezzie's creation, a story in pictures

Molly Bang

I love Molly Bang. I love that each of her books has a different illustration style, although the two we own aren't the best examples of that. The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher is a delightfully strange, wordless picture book about an adorable elderly lady who travels to the market and is followed home by a weird blue creature who desperately wants those berries. The  chase that ensues is action packed and leads us through woods, swamp and brambles and finally to the comfort of the grey lady's home and family. When Sophie Gets Angry, Really Angry has been a crucial addition to our library for therapeutic reasons. When Sophie gets angry she "stomps, she screams , she wants to smash the world to smithereens, she roars a red, red roar... then she runs". The illustrations are bright and energetic and Sophie's "aura" changes color as her emotions change. 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

bag lady

Thanks to TinyHappy for shoulder bag tutorial.

Thanks to Angry Chicken and her bookBend the Rules Sewing- Amy Karol, for tote bag directions.

I often joke that I am a bag lady. I love bags. I don't collect them but I fill them. I have that great Aunt Ethel habit of wanting to stash rolls from the neighbors barbi in my hobo. I keep mints, gum, pens (including drawing pens), a pad, a bright green mini moleskin, lip balm, eye liner, tissues, an energy bar ( to split betwix the kids), quarters, band aids, sunscreen, sun glasses, a diaper, some wipes, many other things that would bore you to death.  I am starting to feel like Ally Sheedy from The Breakfast Club. Sometimes, as a challenge , I use a tiny purse or clutch. It is quite refreshing. I also like making bags. I try pretty hard to not make bags that are too hippy dippy but I don't buy fabric for them so I am limited to using scraps, old curtains and holey blankets. This latest tote bag was made from my fave pair of jeans (sigh) that I recently made into shorts. The lining fabric is a patchwork made using skirt fabric scraps and  my bright red curtains that mysteriously became covered with bright blue silly puddy. I cut out the blue spots. The red bag is made from scraps I had lying around as well.

p.s henry makes weapons

I have never in my life considered making something for a destructive purpose. I don't get it. Yet, it fascinates me. Henry made this. 


A lot has happened this week. Henry started vision therapy. He loved it and asked to go every day.  We do home therapy every day anyway, he likes that a bit less. He continues to love school. They both went to the dentist and everything there went swimmingly as well. We still struggle daily with sibling rivalry and general chaos. I often wonder what I am doing wrong. Sometimes I know what I am doing wrong. I try to be positive though and look on the bright side. Ezra is in his own bed until 5 am 90 % of the time. Both boys love school. My job is okay. I almost typed that "my job is not painful" but it can be. Today, Julia hit me really hard in the face with a wooden cupcake, ouch. Other notable positive things: We have some friends. We are not homeless. Our family genuinely loves each other.

 I think we are all experiencing PhD burnout.
Fall is beautiful here and it is starting to show. Henry and I visit m sisters in Beantown this weekend. We are both excited.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lois Lenski

Monday is going to be children's book series day. Every Monday I will try to highlight some of our family's favorite writers and illustrators. Today I have chosen Lois Lenski.  Lois's  illustrations are simple, and classic.   She started writing the Mr. Small books in the late forties and they still have a strong appeal to kids. Henry had quite an attachment to Cowboy Small. It was this book that inspired two yr. old Henry to tell me that my breastmilk tasted like chuck wagon coffee. They are a tad dated in the way that you would expect books written in the 1940s to be, but not overly so. They are a bit smaller which both of my boys appreciate. Ezra likes to sleep with small books instead of an animal. The books we have are new editions in full color. I love the palettes they chose. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

antidote to cyber-fantasy

Sometimes, after perusing my favorite craft blogs, I want to gag or shoot myself. How do these attractive women knit, sew their children's clothing, bake artisanal bread, make homemade cheese, put up veg. and fruit, homeschool their children, use only organic cloth diapers,  read interesting books, sell items on etsy, keep only natural products/toys in their house and wake up in the morning to blog about it all while sipping their fair trade $15/lb. coffee? I admit their are days when I aspire to the same lifestyle but honestly the truth mostly ain't that pretty. I sometimes yell at my children. Ezra has been completely naked for 15 min. now and I have no idea where his clothing is. The same blue laundry basket has been sitting in front of the tube for a week now, only it is much less full. I can't seem to keep socks together. My bathroom needs to be scrubbed. I haven't finished a project in a reasonable amt. of time (reasonable being less than 8 mo.) in years. I know that circumstances must be similar for these women and yet... maybe it isn't . They have me mostly fooled. It can be depressing. Its similar to the feeling an average mother of two gets when she is standing in line at the grocery store in dirty jeans and teeshirt and she notices the glossy mags with celebrity moms sporting their pilates toned, macrobiotic, smoker induced, six pack torsos draped with sling baby, splashed across the cover. But I am not bitter, at all.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

pie tease

This key lime pie was so good, I found my head in my hands at one point. I couldn't stand it. Too damn yummy. I could have eaten the whole thing. The silky mouth-feel, the bitter lime top note immediately cushioned and enveloped by the custardy sweetness. The buttery sandiness of the graham crust pairing perfectly with the velvety cream and custard. The whipped cream barely sweetened,in fact not sweet at all compared to the divine filling, and beaten just to perfection. Dawn made it. She is from the pan handle. She knows her key lime pie. The limes were brought back from Florida a couple weeks ago when Dawn and co. came back. Thank you Dawn.  

Monday, September 8, 2008

land of play

I live with 3 boys, though sometimes it feels like more, especially when Keel, Oliver, Gonzalo and Jeshuah are congregated by my front stoop.   Occasionally, Robert, Mahmoud and Ahmed will stop by. Sometimes, Luke and Seth and Evan are hanging out with us.

My  boys are fascinating. This is what they like to do:  Find and then fight over sticks, sharpen said sticks by rubbing against pavement. Call sticks "fishing poles", "guns" or "swords", but rarely "sticks". Climb crabapple trees and call them hideouts. Throw toys onto rooftops. Throw fistfuls of  dusty dirt into air and watch with fascination as it falls all around and into eyes and face, repeat. Punt soccer balls. (I wasn't sure if that was punt or bundt but Keel and Henry just enlightened me. It figures that I would confuse a kind of cake with an athletic maneuver.) Sit under picnic table "houses" and  zoom in between the sheets on the line. Throw acorns at squirrels. Collect acorns and talk mother into tasting the "meat" (Henry's word) inside, FYI green acorns are more bitter than brown. Have competitions over length, width and opacity of tire marks, made by skidding to a stop on bicycle. Compare height of bike seat with that of friends. Eat anything edible found outside, including but not limited to: mint, nasturtiums (leaves, flowers and stem), lovage, dill, clover, acorns, onion grass...  Look under heavy rocks for worms. Find  "treasures" or "clues", which are often "trash" to a boring grown up like me. 

Now I know girls do the same things, but whether it is culturally learned or genetic, Henry is more likely to do certain things with his  boys than his girl buddies.  For instance, right now Henry is  happily playing house with Marium. Henry and Keel never play house together  but they do lob things at tree tops and wrestle. On the other hand, Marium has been known to race with the boys and Rasha loves to climb trees with Henry. 

Whatever it is they are doing. They are doing it long enough let me occasionally blog about it. For that I am thankful.

Friday, September 5, 2008

scenes from today

school clothes shopping

Back in the day, mom used to take my siblings and I shopping for supplies and some new duds in the fall. I remember vividly, the excitement I would feel at the prospects of wearing something Amy hadn't worn before. Mostly we would hit Salvation Army or other thrift stores. Nowadays, my mom and mom-in -law get most of the clothing for my kids. Most of  what they wear is inherited. I like that. I love reusing or making what we wear, even if a skirt takes me 6 months to make, even if my homemade hats look like breasts. And yet, I still like to dream. I do love pretty frocks. Bright colors etc. And shoes. I only own 8 pairs of shoes, including boots and sandals. But I would happily own a few lets me dream for a few materialistic minutes of these other possibilities...


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